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Tuesday, July 25, 2006



If you link to nothing else this year, link to this:
It's a little online exhibition of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, and it's wonderful.

I'm shameless about how boring I can be on the subject of wildlife photography. David Attenborough for Prime Minister! A big part of this is recent, and it's because of this exhibition.

To explain: every year, an exhibition of wildlife photography is held at the Natural History Museum in London - a fabulously beautiful building in itself, a huge Victorian pile designed as a kind of temple to science. It looks like basic Victorian Gothic architecture, but up close, you'll see that all the columns and panels have been cast with decorations, like carved gargoyles in a church. Only they're not gargoyles, they're monkeys and fish and snakes and lizards and mice, and animals of all kinds. Its exhibitions are good, but nothing tops the building itself.

Or so I thought. Then I went to this exhibition. It was very simple: mildly soothing ambient music, combined with a collection of the year's best wildlife photos, mounted on lightboxes so they shone out from the walls. That's all.

I can't remember when I've been so happy, so touched, so relaxed in my life.

Every picture is a masterpiece of composition. And the subjects themselves, well, they have a chimp catching termites from the air! They have macaques trekking through the snow! They have pikes lurking in the green depths! Photographs so beautiful that they're almost hyper-real.

I'm a complete baby when it comes to pictures of animals, I'll admit it. But these are the best you'll ever see. And you can see them all at this website, or at least, you can at the time of posting, and I hope it's a long time before they take it down. The pictures are fairly small and low res, alas, but you can still get a sense of them. If you have any love of being transported, give these photographs a look.


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